Space.com wrote a nice article about the effort to put a robotic lake lander on the Methane Seas of Titan, with input from Ellen Stofan , PI of the Titan Mare Explorer (TiME) project ( and later NASA Chief Scientist).
"The remote lake operations were extremely useful in planning future missions to Titan," Stofan said, referring to the collaborative fieldwork undertaken at the Andean Research station established by Planetary Lake Lander Project PI and Million-View TED Speaker Nathalie Cabrol.
The article gives an easy and encompassing overview of the conception and preparation of robotic research vessels to explore other watery worlds in our solar system.
For posts and photos from the field exploration camp during During Dr. Stofan's visit click Here
When I came out of the water after my morning dive yesterday, we had a visitor I hadn't expected on board. After shaking of the salt water and preparing to give a full report of the excavations progress on my end of the site to Director of Excavations Franck Goddio, Franck said "Let me introduce you to Bill Weir, He's from America too".
Bill and his crew create a very popular hour-long show called 'The Wonder List". You might have seen or heard of it playing on CNN on Sunday nights. They tell the stories of extraordinary people, places, cultures and creatures at the crossroads. Exciting stuff. They also go way out of their way to capture beautiful imagery. I love that. And the underlying point of the show, if I got Bill's message correctly, is in "wondering" what the world will be like in the not too distant future, and what will be left that we will recognize from today.. On hearing that, they had me hook, line, and sinker.
Franck asked me to take Bill for a tour of the site we are working on during the current archaeological excavation on the sunken city of Heracleion ( orThonis, in ancient Egyptian), I was enthusiastic to share the process of exploration under the sea.
Before the dive, Bill and his film crew toured the ship and filmed conservation of artifacts, the 3-D photogrammetry process, our Ceramologue Catherine at work, and the many disciplines involved in an underwater archaeological excavation on a city that's been under the sea for over a thousand years. When the time came, we jumped in ( With Roland and Yoann shooting video, and Christof shooting stills) and took a leisurely stroll through the ancient city, taking in the ruins and landscape that very few people have seen since they disappeared beneath the sea.
It was a very pleasant dive, but what I enjoyed the most was Bills excitement in describing what he had seen to his crew, and the cameras. He seemed genuinely surprised at what the site held in store.
And for most of us, the archaeological divers on Francks team, that is what this job is really about; sharing the fascinating things that we are privileged to uncover with the world, and hoping that they will be as amazed as we are.
Later in the afternoon The Wonder List Filmmakers caught the last felucca going back to the fishermen's port in Abu Kir, in order to continue shooting in Alexandria and the Nile River Delta. It will be a while before the show completes the process of creation. Months for sure.
But in the meantime, as soon as I get a reasonable internet connection or return home, I look forward to checking out "The Wonder List" to see what other stories they have covered, and find out if we will likely be classified extraordinary as a places, or as creatures.
All the best,
inary people, places, cultures and creatures at a crossroads.CNN's Bill Weir and filmmaker Philip Bloom tell the stories of extraordinary people, places, cultures and creatures at a crossroads.
Alexander is an expert on ancient shipwreck construction and has discovered some fascinating new characteristics on one of the many shipwrecks that are associated with the sunken Egyptian city of Heracleion/Thonis.
He also plays classical guitar. On the long, quiet evenings on board, the sound of his music drifts gracefully out of cabin #1 and down the corridor, bringing joy to all, especially those of us in cabins 3 and 5.
Despite his overall peaceful demeanor, a warning; It does not extend to the chess board.
A quick peek into the freezer lets us now what we might expect to emerge from the galley over the next few weeks.
Actually we can look forward to very diverse offerings at mealtime, but I thought this photo was kind of funny. Last nght we did have an octopus and onion salad appetizer before our meal commemorating the Battle of Trafalgar and the death of Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson, Including a recitation of his lifes great moments by the Captain, and a toast to his immortal memory.
Some of you might be aware that one of Nelsons most famous battles occured in this very spot, The Bay of Abu Kir ( and the Battle of the Nile) and that we excavated several shipwrecks from that battle, including Napoleon Bonaparte's flag ship, L'Orient.
A commercial and scientific diver from Seattle emailed me some questions about our on-going excavations here in the Bay of Abu Kir "I am particularly interested in your excavation and recovery methods.", he asked.
Thanks for writing in. I can appreciate how working divers want to know the nuts and bolts of how we actually work underwater. Today I have some time to answer, as the wind picked up overnight, and although 2 of us were in the water at 730 am, the conditions were still too bad for archaeological excavations. 50 cm visibility and a surge on the bottom. we secured the gear in place and returned to the ship.
The broad strokes of our excavation tools and methodology are covered on the Franck Goddio Website under the heading "System Approach and Technology" including descriptions for sume tools you are probably thinking of, such as the unromantic water dredge, as well as a lot of detail about that most difficult subject of all underwater work, Positioning.
What is not mentioned so much there is that every diver, after every dive, gives Franck a full reporting of everything done and seen during the dive, as well as observations and impressions, that can lead to a better overall understanding of work progress on the site.
I hope that provides some interesting reading, and if anyone has more questions about our work and life on board as the dive team of L'INSTITUT EUROPÉEN D'ARCHÉOLOGIE SOUS-MARINE, please send them my way.
All the best,
See Exposition Osiris in Zurich
When I first heard of this team of French Divers, who travel the world making fantastic discoveries, lead by a passionate Underwater Archaeologist, who had been together for years, I had to learn more about them.
The introduction came through team diverr Sue Hendrickson (The Paleontologist ), and imagine my amazement when I was offered the opportunity to join the team. The irony is that now, 20 years of exploration and amazing discoveries later, the team is still exploring, and most of the faces have remained the same.
Today L'INSTITUT EUROPÉEN D'ARCHÉOLOGIE SOUS-MARINE dive team are still a French Team, although the number of nations represented on board is great, the culture remains overwhelmingly French.
That being said, the passports represented on board today, at anchor in the Bay of Abu Kir, Egypt, include: French, Egyptian, Czech, Cuban, Russian, American, and British
Can you imagine the cacophony at the Dinner table? Its a type of camaraderie that I think ony can exist at sea after hard labor in pursuit of a common goal, over a fine meal, and with the knowledge that another amazing discovery awaits us the following day.
These are the thoughts I have today. Proud to be part of the team.
Franck Goddio and the Survey Team are continuing the sub-bottom profiler survey on the site of the sunken Egyptian City of Heracleion/Thonis. The next-gen technology be Innomar is providing spectacular 3-d imagery of things hidden under the settlement, including elements of the cities construction and evidence of the cataclysmic events that caused it to disappear into the sea.
In the wheel house, Gildas has a tough job keeping the SeaPro on line for the very close lane spacing chosen for the survey. Franck, Gerard, Elodie and Peter keep an eye on the incoming data stream in the survey control room. At the same time, the Egyptian crew of the Sea Pro keep all the machinery running perfectly.
The results of this survey are already interesting, and will lead to better understanding of the site and planning for future archeological excavations on the sunken city that revealed the artifacts currently on display in the British museum, and destined soon to be on display in Zurich as the Osiris Exhibition makes its stop there.
In the mean time, I cant wait to dive and investigate the information from the survey!
This is why we keep diving and excavating; To share the discoveries of a sunken civilization with the world.
AFTER PARIS AND LONDON, THIS FASCINATING EXHIBITION OF THE LATEST UNDERWATER ARCHAEOLOGICAL DISCOVERIES OPENS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN A GERMAN-SPEAKING COUNTRY NEXT FEBRUARY: MUSEUM RIETBERG IN ZURICH WILL HOST THE SHOW
Osiris, Egypt’s Sunken Mysteries (German title: „Osiris - Das versunkene Geheimnis Ägyptens“) opens 10 February 2017 at Museum Rietberg in Zurich. The exhibition features some 300 objects, many of them on display for the first time outside Egypt.
The focus of the exhibition is on finds that have come to light mainly over the past ten years of research conducted in the submerged ancient cities of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus off the coast of Egypt by the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology (IEASM) led by Franck Goddio in collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and supported by the Hilti Foundation. The show is supplemented by 40 masterpieces from museums in Cairo and Alexandria.
Together, they illustrate the legend of Osiris, the Egyptian god of the afterlife. Osiris, so the legend says, was killed and cut into pieces by his brother Seth. Osiris’ sister-wife Isis reassembled the pieces which led to his resurrection in order to conceive their son Horus. Osiris was therefore worshipped for bringing new life to death, including the circle of vegetation and the flooding of the Nile. The “legend of Osiris” is one of the great founding myths of ancient Egypt. It was remembered, perpetuated and renewed in the annual celebration of the “Mysteries of Osiris”, one of the great religious ceremonies of ancient Egypt.
The 1300 m² exhibition takes visitors to the sunken cities and to where the ceremonies took place, and affords further glimpses into ancient ceremonies and rituals that were once performed under the strictest secrecy inside the temples. The exhibition organiser is Museum Rietberg in Zurich. “We are proud to be able to show this unique exhibition at Museum Rietberg,” says the museum’s director, Dr Albert Lutz. “The stories the exhibition tells here had me spellbound from the first – and I believe our visitors will feel exactly the same.”
I wish I had written this post yesterday. It was gorgeous.
By that I mean 3 meters vis, schools of fish everywhere, very little wave action on the bottom, and a reasonable current taking the inevitable stirred up sediment on our work site gently off to the north east.
Today is a different story. after jumping off the ship, as Ahmed ws captured doing in the photo above, I was leisurely adjusting my gear as I descended the 5 m to the bottom when I hit it, face first, with no warning. Vis had dropped to below a meter, and even less once the action began.
But underwater archaeology on the team of the INSTITUT EUROPÉEN D'ARCHÉOLOGIE SOUS-MARINE
is not for those who go weak in the fins the first sign of adversity, so to work we went, albeit very, very slowly
My Name is Eric and My Job is Scientific Exploration.
That means I'm lucky enough to join expeditions to excavate sunken cities, climb volcanoes, find missing bombs, and Sail old research vessels, while searching for the mysteries of the natural world.